Property managers earn their keep

Wear many hats. Property managers advise the landlord using their knowledge and experience. Photo: Shutterstock

Wear many hats. Property managers advise the landlord using their knowledge and experience. Photo: Shutterstock

New landlords often try to maximise their profits by managing their own properties but this can cost them money. Most investment owners also don't have the time to deal with their portfolios.

"The role of a property manager grows in complexity almost daily," Tim McKibbin, CEO of the REINSW said. "The recent amendments to residential tenancies act and regulation are testament to that proposition. By way of a recent example, property managers now have to deal with the termination of a tenancy due to domestic violence involving one of the tenants."

One lawsuit avoided, one eviction averted, even one less month with a vacant property can cover the cost of hiring a property management company.

How has COVID-19 affected their role?

"Government imposed protections for tenants, both residential and commercial, were being thrust upon property managers almost daily," Mr McKibbin said.

"A lot of the mechanics (workings) of the protections were rushed through the normal processes, consequently they were difficult to apply.

"COVID-19 created stressful conditions both financially and emotionally for tenants and landlords. That stress was being absorbed by property managers all day every day."

Possible property manager duties:

  • Advertise your home to suitable tenants
  • Screen tenants to ensure they'll pay the rent on time and not damage the home
  • Act as a mediator
  • Suggest rental increases as the market permits
  • Set up regular inspections and take note of any issues
  • Tell landlords if something needs repairing

"It requires a very broad skill set," Mr McKibbin said. "Property managers appear for their clients at a judicial environment, organise and manage repairs and maintenance, account to the landlord and tenant for income and expenses, negotiation skills within what can be very emotional and confronting environments, all of this within a complex legislative environment."

The property manager works within a heavily regulated environment and is required to know in depth the regulations that govern their industry.

"There is no specific training for a property manager," he said. "A person seeking a career in real estate does the same course which includes education on property management. Upon successful completion of the course and attaining their qualification the student can apply for their certificate/licence.

"The REINSW lobbied government relentlessly for an increase to the education requirements - we achieved that result with implementation effective March 23 last year.

"Prior to that the education required was less than a week. This churned out people into the industry with inadequate skills - 80 per cent of people coming into the industry left it in the first 12 months.

"With the increase in education we hope to see a greater retention of people entering the industry, this will increase the aggregate skills, experience and knowledge of the industry."